Anna Leask

Anna Leask is a police reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

Dunedin shooting: School gathers ideas for a lasting tribute

Bradley Livingstone's hat and his sister Ellen's shoes in a poignant memorial at St Leonards School. Photo / Otago Daily Times
Bradley Livingstone's hat and his sister Ellen's shoes in a poignant memorial at St Leonards School. Photo / Otago Daily Times

The small Dunedin school that slain siblings Bradley and Ellen Livingstone attended is working with their mother to plan a lasting memorial to their short lives.

"When we go, we do not want them forgotten," said an emotional St Leonards School principal, Jo Wilson, yesterday.

Every day, 9-year-old Bradley walked his younger sister Ellen, 6, the short distance to the school from their family home.

St Leonards School, with its roll of 72 pupils, has opened its doors for children and parents to gather, support each other, and pay their respects.

The Ministry of Education and police have been providing guidance to the school, which had contacted every family after hearing of the deaths.

Bradley and Ellen were popular childen and had many friends, said Ms Wilson.

"They were both just lovely kids," she said.

"The community is coming together. We've got a whole heap of kids, parents, and food, and we're looking after each other.

"We all know everybody and so that's why we're doing that.

"Kids are doing what kids do. They're out playing, and then they're talking. We'll keep talking - that's the main thing. And that's not going to stop, because their feelings are not going to go away for a long, long time."

Now the school is planning a lasting tribute.

Ms Wilson said she spoke to Ms Webb yesterday about what to do next.

"She's just got to get her head around what she's going to do and how she's going to move forward," she said.

"We're starting to get ideas from the community for tributes or things that we can do."

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Bradley, with his mother, was keen on orienteering, so one idea put forward is the creation of an orienteering track that could bear his name.

Another idea was to renovate the school library and somehow tie it in with Bradley and Ellen, who Ms Wilson said was "arty, and loved ballet, dancing and singing".

"We want to do something that is about them, and to provide a lasting memory. When we go, we do not want them forgotten," she said.

Thousands of people have joined Facebook groups set up in the children's memory.

Mel Foot, a friend and neighbour whose husband Chris tried to rescue Bradley and Ellen from their father on Wednesday night, posted on one of the memorial pages.

"We are so sorry we could not get to you in time," she wrote.

"Our household's an emotional mess ... Chris very, very emotional at the moment."

Vanessa Allen, who works at St Leonards School, remembered them fondly. She taught both of the children when they were younger.

"[Ellen] loved drawing and making things for her family and friends ... lets all remember Bradley and Ellen for the great kids they were," she wrote.

"It was a pleasure seeing you both grow up ... I had the pleasure of looking after these two awesome kids.

"I will miss you both very much, you both were amazing, happy children with so much potential. [The] school will miss you both very very much."


If you'd like to make a donation, go to stleonardsdn.school.nz.

- APNZ

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